Thursday, April 16, 2009

Redskins Draft Needs Part 1: Offensive Tackle

With the 2009 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, the Redskins are in full preparation mode. This year the 'Skins have the 13th overall pick, the highest since 2005. This pick, however, is extremely important because if the Redskins draft a bust then their status as an average team will most likely be cemented. 

Currently, all of the Draft buzz around the Redskins involves Mark Sanchez, the former USC signal caller. Dan Snyder fell in love with his next failed investment at first sight. Don't get me wrong, Sanchez is a tremendous talent, but it would create an unnecessary problem at quarterback. 

Instead, the Redskins should embrace Jason Campbell and build a team around him. Starting with an offensive tackle. The 'Skins offensive line is in dire need of a younger, more athletic tackle, considering Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels are aging rapidly.

This year's draft class features several big name tackles. Jason Smith, of Baylor, and Euguene Monroe, a former UVA Cavalier, are the top two ranked tackles, and will likely be gone by pick No. 13. However, Michael Oher and Andre Smith may potentially slide down on the draft board.

Michael Oher, pronounced "Oar", without a doubt has the potential to be the next Orlando Pace. On the flip-side, he also has a high risk of being a bust. Oher, a graduate of Ole Miss, is 6'5"and tips the scales at close to 310 pounds. The knock on Oher is his IQ. In the book The Blind Side, Michael Oher is observed from his time in high school to his time at Ole Miss. Oher bounced around from school to school, and seemingly could not read or write. These are all concerns for NFL GM's who don't want to invest millions of dollars in someone who becomes a bust. However, Oher's size and athleticism make him a football phenom. 

Before the end of the college football season, Andre Smith was being talked about as a possible No. 1 overall pick. However, Smith spoiled those hopes by having what appeared to be a mental breakdown at the NFL Scouting Combine, and then following his weird behavior at the Combine with an awful Pro Day. Smith, a former Alabama tackle, is 6'5" and weighs in at a hefty 340. Smith has tremendous strength, but much like Oher has a high possibility of being a bust. Smith's work ethic has been questioned by scouts and at times is lackadaisical. 

If by some Divine miracle Monroe or Jason Smith fell to the Redskins, Dan Snyder would be crazy to pass on either one of them. But more likely, the Redskins will have to decide whether or not Michael Oher or Andre Smith will materialize into a Pro Bowler, and if so should they take them.

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